Bzzzt! Bzzt! Did I just receive a text? Am I getting a call? Email? Facebook notification? Oh wait, I guess it was just my imagination. Or was it…
The other day I left my cell phone at home and worked a 12 hour shift only to find myself completely bored out of my mind during the slow periods. Nobody to text, no news to read, no status updates to follow/comment/post on facebook, but worst of all no Wondergressive articles to browse through! Oh the humanity!
In this day and age a cell phone deprived person seems to be at a great disadvantage. A prime example of this happened last week. My girlfriend forgot her cell phone at home and her house keys in my car while she was out running some errands.That got me thinking. Without a cell phone she could easily have gotten hurt or lost or needed assistance and there would have been no way of me reaching her. Needless to say, she showed up where I was and got her keys, but I was still left with the thought of how important and intertwined our lives have become with cell phones.
For those of us suffering from nomophobia, and for those that are in denial, let me ask you: could you really part with your digital friend? Think of all of your daily routines, think of all of your leisure time and what you spend doing during that time, think about what you do while driving or while you are stuck in traffic, and finally, think of how you reach your friends/family/lovers/doctors/Wondergressive authors etc. If you can honestly avoid using your cell phone for any of these activities then congratulations! You may not be a zombie like the rest of us. Yet. A preliminary study on cell phone addiction by Baylor University yields that:
mobile phones are conspicuous artifacts of acquisition and sometimes are viewed as extensions of the self.
How deep is THAT?! Cell phones as a part of ourselves! Or is it the other way around… In the same way that some would argue that people suffer from hoarding items because they project emotions, experiences, and self onto the items they are keeping, cell phones are now becoming an integral part of our body and mind! In a way, my cell phone is my best friend: it always listens and does what I want it to do, well most of the time at least, so it is no wonder that I feel lost if I am without it. Not too long now, and the singularity will be nigh upon us, at which point I wonder if we will greet it with open arms?
The study goes on to say that
Much in the same way as consumers who use materialistic pursuits to cope with stress, anxiety, and feelings of low self-worth, cell phone and other technological addictions are likely similar attempts to cope with the exigencies of life and self esteem struggles.
A lot of people resort to cell phone sexting instead of real human interaction and that may be partially caused by stress and low self worth. Digitally displaying something is easier than having to deal with real life encounters and embarrassment. I think, at least, that its easier to get rejected digitally than it is in person.
Lets re-rail this focus train and stop with all the sexting talk for a second. Speaking of re-railing thoughts, Multi tasking while using your cell phone has almost become impossible not to do. Just think of all those recipes you looked up on your smartphone while cooking or those soundtracks you listened to while working on something. One would think headlines like “Brain and Spinal tumors caused by cell phones” would put a stop to our obsessions but then again why do we continue to smoke, and not the good kind, when we know it is killing us?
I am as guilty as the rest of you, however this is my conscious effort at lessening my cell phone dependency. Here are a couple of tips to help with our digital addictions, but the most important thing to remember is to be as involved with other humans as we are with our electronic devices. Remember, when your battery dies, it is comforting to know that the person next to you will keep you not only interested, but also as warm as your cell phone does when it overheats in your hands from overuse. And for those of us that prefer to live in denial, check out this awesome tablet/phone concept designers are working on! Cheers!